Camp Life

Our remote field camp was located on snow just off the margin of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet and on the edge of Roberts Massif. To access this, we took a 6-minute, 30-mile Twin Otter flight from Shackleton Camp. We landed on blue ice—pure glacier ice that is not covered by snow—and traversed by snowmobile about 2 miles to our campsite. Chris and Gordon made this trip several times to get our thousands of pounds of gear, while Maggie and I set up camp.

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So what did our camp look like? We had a kitchen tent where we ate all of our meals, and generally hung out when not sampling. Maggie has an incredible library of music and movies, which were heavily utilized. And when we weren’t too tired to exercise our brains, we read books. For sleeping, we had a Scott tent each for the men and women. We had a third Scott tent that housed our toilet. Or rather, the 5-gallon bucket in which we…well, you know…Pack in, pack out! In the background of the photos below you can see a plateau with an alpine glacier pouring into the basin below. We named this glacier “Josh,” and had the pleasure of looking at it whenever we stepped out of our tents.

To get water, we smashed ice out of the glacier with an ice pick, and then melted it using our two-burner Coleman stoves. We also used the stoves to make hot meals, because those are nice to have when it’s below freezing and blowing wind! Because it was always below freezing, we were lucky enough to have delicacies such as frozen cheeses and meats, which we could thaw in the kitchen tent as we were out sampling for the day. Some meal highlights included spinach and bean burritos, salmon, smoked oysters, and cinnamon rolls and pork loin on Christmas. Every few days, we’d make “leftover soup.”

Tomorrow, I’ll post about our sampling process!

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